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The emerging geographies of climate justice

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  • The information, practices and views in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG).

Abstract

Climate justice is a well used concept within the international climate debate yet it has often remained little more than a static ideal. Through an analysis of the work of a loose civil society coalition in India mobilising around climate change justice, this paper argues that we need to be more attentive to the emerging geographies of climate justice, particularly in the global South where climate change provokes questions of uneven development processes as well as environmental concerns. The paper shows how climate justice has been scaled as an international justice issue through public discourses, national policies and civil society engagement in India. I argue that this focus on international climate justice narrows the political space for alternative articulations and claims for climate justice. Whereas climate justice has tended to focus on the nation-state as the key actor in addressing climate injustice I argue there are multiple entry points to address climate injustices at different scales. To understand what is meant by climate justice beyond the international sphere requires an exploration of the multiple manifestations and scales of climate justice and geographers could offer a critical contribution to an understanding of what national and local climate justice would mean in practice. These ideas are already starting to be operationalised in development programmes and climate finance, and a spatially grounded geographical understanding is crucial to future policy in this area.

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